Wiring Assignment #2B: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions-Origins of the States’ Rights Argument

Paper details In 1789 the Federalists dominated Congress passed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts, leading to a conflict between the states and the federal government during the early days of the republic. Aimed at silencing the opposition press and weakening the opposing Democratic-Republican Party, they represent the nation’s first constitutional crisis. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson responded with the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions. Written to challenge the constitutionality of the Acts, the resolutions set a precedent for the later state’s rights position.

INSTRUCTIONS: This writing assignment will require students to compare and contrast the two Primary Source documents which are linked below. Review the relevant content in Chapter 9. Read the following documents. Each of the documents is directly linked below and is also posted on the assignment page. They can also be found at The Avalon Project site. Compare and contrast the two documents. Identify similarities and differences between Jefferson’s and Madison’s arguments. As you read each Resolution you should consider the following questions and identify the relevant information that answers each one. These questions should be used to analyze and discuss the documents.

Students should read both documents pertaining to the Kentucky Resolution but must base their discussion on the DRAFT version since it presents all of Jefferson’s arguments. All arguments must be supported by evidence from each of the documents. PREPARE AND SUBMIT: Write a well-organized essay, a minimum of 700 words (but not limited to), including supporting details from the documents/textbook/other sources, in which you analyze and discuss the material that has been assigned by addressing the following question:

Discuss what Madison and Jefferson are addressing when they refer to the “compact” in the Resolutions, identifying how each one describes the relationship of the states to the federal government and constitutionally support their argument, and if, in your opinion, their arguments defend the Constitution or challenge it. Reminders Paragraphs in an essay are not numbered. Any questions that are associated with an assigned reading are there to serve as a guide for your discussion.

Your discussion should incorporate all of the information from the documents and or textbook, and outside sources as one essay. Students are required to research and incorporate into their discussions additional sources that relate to the content. Recommendations can be found at the end of the textbook chapter in Additional Reading. All statements must be supported and all sources must be identified and cited, and included in your reference list.

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